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Atypical Protagonists

Posted: Sat May 12, 2018 10:48 pm
by Maxim Trevelyan
Undoubtedly, quite a large number of protagonists are children, young adults or grown-ups. We see dashing knights, mighty heroines, brave children and wicked villains. But rarely do we see any other protagonists than humans.

Black Beauty (by Anna Sewell) is a real page-turner. The story is told from the point-of-view of a horse, which focuses on the treatment of animals, most often very cruel rather than not. It takes us from a beautiful country were horses live in relative peace to the back-breaking work on the streets of London. Overall, the book is educational, heartbreaking, heartwarming and emotional with a very important lesson to teach.

What are some of the books where the protagonists were not human? Did you like them or not? Why?

Re: Atypical Protagonists

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:43 pm
by Shiloh Adlar
I recently finished The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame which is a lovely children's book following four animal characters, Mole, Rat, Badger and Toad. While humans are mentioned in the book, they play a smaller role with the exception of Toad's adventure.

The book starts with introducing the four different characters in their own little storylines and then the overlaying story of the adventures of Toad begin. In the unabridged version, it also includes little side stories.

The book has a good moral in the end though I had to laugh at how easily Toad got away with things in the end. Suddenly he makes a change in character and there are no repercussions for him escaping prison except his pride being hurt because of the change he decides to make.

Re: Atypical Protagonists

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:35 am
by Shiloh Adlar
I finished another children's book with an animal protagonist called Call of the Wild by Jack London. This is such a beautiful book however it was very difficult for me to read because it has a lot of cruelty towards animals in it. Some parts actually reminded me of other things, and I kept thinking, how in the world is this a children's book? There are twists and turns for Buck who is our main character and he goes through a change within himself to find his true nature which is where the call of the wild comes into play. Readers discover the view of the world from the eyes of a magnificent creature and even though Buck is a dog, I think even humans learn lessons from Buck's story and listening to whatever is calling out to us that brings us joy and the pain of attachments when trying to reach that goal. Be ready to feel anger and then to have your heartstrings pulled at different moments should you decide to give this a read.

Re: Atypical Protagonists

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:57 pm
by Ivorie Windton
I would have to say the best I can think of is Charlotte's Web. I loved this book as a child. It seems to me that as the age of the reader increases we see non-human's less and less... I can think of some others, but most of them are at least near human or half.

Re: Atypical Protagonists

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:41 pm
by Prof. Tarma Amelia Black
There are so many books and stories published which do not have the stamped imprint of 2-legged 'separate from and superior to the rest of life' as their theme. This is of a great gladness. :)

Many cultures of the world see the characters of their stories simply as 'People', no matter which form or shape they are using. Some of them, as in Indian and Oriental societies, show the 'Animal People' as the protagonists and the 2-leggers are those upon whom the tricks are played. Some have many stories about Mama Bear, Eagle, Moose and in all of these they are seen as protagonists. The stories of Ganesha, the Elephant God (known as a remover of obstacles), are a delight to many.

In Someplace to be Flying, by Charles de Lint, we meet the delightful Crow Girls. In many of Mr. de Lint's stories (he lives in Canada and, as far as I know, is not of Indian or Oriental blood) he shows more of an Indian viewpoint of the world -- that all of life is alive and all are People, no matter what the body is used.

One of the first books I remember ever reading is Beautiful Joe, by Marshall Sanders. (Black Beauty was written in 1877, so Beautiful Joe followed its publication.) Not only did it show me how 2-leggers treat animals, it validated my own experiences (even if inadvertently) that it's possible to talk with animals, have a communication with them. That they are People.

Beautiful Joe write-up
Marshall Saunders "Beautiful Joe" (1893) is a remarkable classic exploring issues of animal cruelty told from the point of view of one dog, Joe. This work was an instant success upon its release in Canada, becoming the first book to sell over a million copies in that country. Written as a kind of dog's autobiography, the work was innovative in its narrative technique. Often compared to Anna Sewell's "Black Beauty", the novel tracks the true story of a terrier in Maine named Joe. As Joe tells his story, the reader quickly meets his cruel owner Jenkins. Jenkins mistreatment grows more intense over time. The reader develops a deep sympathy for Joe and his canine counterparts on account of its narrative point of view. Joe's journey through abuse towards being rescued is a harrowing account not to be missed by the animal lover.

Re: Atypical Protagonists

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:50 pm
by Silas Hipolito Crist
Years ago I have read Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter for the first time. I was impressed and moved, because it was something really good and the main thing that I like at Warrior series is that they are all coming from very good idea. So the protagonist is in the first series tomcat first named Rusty, then Fireheart and Firestar. And people are rarely mentioned, they are also named as Twolegs.

I like reading the books with non human protagonists because everything is shown in reverse view. And it is interesting to read something different, because I am too used of human protagonists books, altough they are almost everytime very good.

Re: Atypical Protagonists

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:08 am
by Shiloh Adlar
I also just read Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, and I loved it. As I put on my goodreads account, "I absolutely adored this book and the way it is told by a horse rather than a human. What a new insight this brings especially to those who think of animals as less than humans. This is a very sad thing to think as animals have feelings and hurt just like us. And there was such a pleasant turn of events."

This was a bit of an easier rollercoaster for me than Call of the Wild was. While there is certainly animal abuse mentioned, because it is from the view of a horse, it isn't in as much detail. That was a nice thing as my brain understands much more.